“The Last of Us”: who was Sally Ride, the American astronaut honored in the series

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Sally Ride died in 2012 aged 61

Sally Ride was the first American woman to travel in space.

Although she was not the first woman to achieve the feat – the milestone had already been reached by Valentina Tereshkova and then Svetlana Savitskaja, both Russians – Ride’s flight sparked the imaginations of dozens of girls and teenagers around the world.

To date, only 75 women, out of a total of 566 people, have traveled in space.

In June 1983, Ride and his team spent more than 17 days orbiting Earth as part of NASA’s STS-7 mission.

In 2012, when he died at the age of 61 from pancreatic cancer, he was honored by then US President Barack Obama.

“As the first American woman to travel in space, Sally was a national hero and an important role model,” Obama said.

In the last few days, his name and his path have again attracted attention due to the reference in the last episode of the first season of the hit series. The last of usfrom the HBO Max channel.

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The astronaut is mentioned in the series The last of us

The series, based on a video game of the same name, revolves around characters Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie Williams (Bella Ramsey) who try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world invaded by zombies.

In last Sunday’s (12/3) episode, Ellie tells Joel that if the zombie invasion hadn’t happened, she’d like to be an astronaut like Sally Ride.

But how did Ride become one of the first women to visit space?

From tennis courts to space

Ride was born in the city of Los Angeles and from a young age excelled in something very different from space: tennis.

She received scholarships from various schools for her athletic talent and successfully participated in some national tournaments.

However, when choosing a career, he decided to study Physics at Stanford University.

After graduating, she applied for a job at NASA after seeing a notice at the university calling for scientists and engineers, including women, to join the astronaut corps.

He joined NASA in 1978 after being selected from 8,000 applicants.

Thanks to her skills, she was selected to be part of the crew of the space shuttle Challenger in 1983.

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Ride participated in different space missions

Her work has focused specifically on using a robotic arm she helped develop to recover satellites in Earth orbit.

In this way she became the first American woman and the third woman in history to be in space after the Russians Tereshkova and Savitskaja.

Later he participated in other missions. But perhaps the most difficult moment of his career was the Challenger accident in 1986.

Because of her work in previous years, she was included in the space committee that NASA created to investigate what had happened.

The accident, which took place on January 28, 1986, left seven astronauts dead, but above all many questions about the space program.

Pioneer and national heroine

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Mattel has created a doll inspired by Sally Ride

A year after the Challenger tragedy, Ride left NASA, but never his love of space and physics.

She became a professor at the University of California and served as a research associate at Stanford University.

In the midst of her academic work, in 2001 she founded the Sally Ride Science Institute, which creates scientific programs and publications for young students.

He has also written five science books for children.

“Being the first American woman in space created a lot of expectations,” Ride said in a 2008 interview.

“I didn’t think about it that much at the time, but I understood the price that was chosen,” he said.

In 2011 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. About 10 months after the illness was announced, he died at his home in La Jolla, California.

Her exploits have propelled her into popular culture across the United States.

Except as stated in The last of usthe Ride was also the inspiration for a Lego collection, and singer Billy Joel included his name in the song We do not Light the Fire.

Mattel also released a Barbie-style doll in Ride’s honor.

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